Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mom's Aren't Allowed to Get Sick

It's an unspoken rule.  No, it's a rule I have spoken many times in my life.  Especially since becoming a mom.  Mom's aren't allowed to get sick.  We don't have time to be sick.  Our children will suffer horrible lives if we get sick.  The world as they know it will end.  And yet, as much as I chant this mantra, I am fighting with getting sick.  The "New Flu" hit early last week. Both Neil and Cierra spent Sunday night tagteaming the toilet.  I finally moved to the couch.  My one day to sleep in (MLK Day meant no school for the kids and I wasn't supposed to work) turned into a sleepless night and I had to go to work anyway to cover a co-worker's shift who had also succumbed to the flu or the cold or herpes.  Not sure exactly, but it meant that I was now facing day 3 of 10 work days in a row.  Day 3 isn't that bad, except that it was accompanied by sick family members who wanted to be taken care of.  I can do this. I'm the mom. I'm not allowed to get sick.

By day 7, everyone had spent at least one day home from work and/or school.  Everyone except me.  I was fine, except for that slight tickle in my throat.  No biggie.  I'm not really sick.  It's just the change in the weather.  Drink some orange juice.  Take my vitamins.  I don't have time to be sick.  I was looking forward to my day off on Tuesday.  I was going to catch up on housework then head to my other job.  I always look forward to my other job because that's where I get to do what I used to do in my life BC (Before Children).  Instead I had one child with a migraine, one with a stomach ache, and one with an arm that felt like it had been chopped off.  The fourth child decided she would just stay home with all the others.  It was easier I suppose but not one of them was really horribly sick so by 10 am they are fighting with each other and complaining of boredom.  I was fighting the lingering sore throat and trying to avoid being choked by sneak phlegm attacks.  My patience was also practicing its tightrope act, fluctuating between concerned love and downright disgust for my children.

To make up for not going to help out my friend on Tuesday, I decided to go in today even though that would cause for a double shift and a long day.  But that's okay, staying busy is good for me and helps me ignore the stuffy nose, lack of smell capabilities, and achy back.  I'm not getting sick.  My co-worker asked if I was getting sick. I denied it - it's just a sore throat.  He suggested I take a vitamin pack - it's liquid and according to the packaging it tastes like chocolate cherry.  According to my taste buds, which have not been blessedly afflicted with a lack of capability, it just tasted gross and washing it down with Dr. Pepper did not help relieve the effect.  I got home, yelled at all the kids to get to bed at least three times, and took some Nyquil.  I'm a mom.  I'm not allowed to get sick.  Death, however, is welcome.

Friday, January 18, 2013

At a Loss

My heart hurts.  When I logged on to Facebook today, the first post I saw was about the passing of a friend's mother.  Her parents had been visiting and on their way back were in a head-on collision.  Her father and the other driver walked away unharmed. Her mother was killed.  As I read my friend's words, I felt such sorrow for her loss.  She is a member of the LDS Church and both she and her parents have an understanding of the plan of salvation which includes eternal life where families are forever.  And I know she has felt some peace as the Holy Ghost has comforted her over the last two days.  But I also sense her pain which only time can ease.

I never met her parents.  I haven't seen her in close to ten years.  We lost touch then found each other on Facebook last year.  She doesn't post often and we haven't talked personally.  I couldn't understand why this impacted me so much.  But each time I receive a notification that somebody else has commented on her post, the tears well up anew and the heart clenches tightly for just a second before I remember to breathe.

In a consequent post, she mentioned her pain for her father who has been left to grieve with no more understanding of why his wife is no longer there and he himself was spared.  She mentioned that his password to log on to his computer is "ilovemywife".  And I am sad for his loss and I grieve for him and I do not even know him, nor is he even aware of my presence on this earth.

I'd like to believe that my heart is just that tender.  And perhaps it is.  I have been known to tear up over a sad country song and a Folger's coffee commercial. But I realize that part of my sadness is selfish.  I am sad that my own relationship with my parents is strained.  Not that there is any anger or hurt, it's just that we're not that close.  I am not anxious to load up my crew and drive the 8 hours it takes to go visit them on a regular basis.  Raising my sister's children leaves them tied to schedules that most grandparents are free of.  So it has been over a year since we have seen each other.  While my father sends out a weekly email of what's happened in their lives, we haven't actually spoken since Thanksgiving.  I don't recall why I didn't talk to them at Christmas, but it didn't happen and it wasn't a big deal.  And as I felt my friend's heartache, I realized that if I had received news that either or both of my parents had passed, my reaction would be far more business and very little emotion. 

I think I'll call home.